Photos by Jamie Alexander
It is so satisfying coming home to a warm, already-cooked meal. With school approaching, families experience a much more difficult time trying to balance schedules. That’s when a crockpot becomes a valuable tool in providing a great meal! With minimal prep, just let the crockpot work its magic and come home to these kid-approved meals waiting for the entire family!
Note: This recipe uses frozen meatballs to make things as quick and easy as possible! If you have a favorite meatball recipe, you can switch the frozen meatballs out for those, and still use the crockpot to let them cook in the sauce!
›› 1 lb. package frozen meatballs (small size)
›› 1 24oz. jar of marinara sauce
›› 1/2 cup grated provolone or mozzarella cheese
›› Hoagie rolls or garlic bread for subs
›› Optional – garnish with parsley and parmesan
›› Pour the jar of marinara sauce into the bottom of the slow cooker, then top with frozen meatballs.
›› Gently stir the meatballs into the sauce so everything is covered, then cook on high 3-4 hours or low 6 hours.
›› When meatballs are cooked through, lightly toast your rolls (or bake your garlic bread), then make subs by topping your rolls with meatballs, a pinch of cheese, and an optional parsley/parmesan garnish (you can also give the assembled subs a quick broil to melt the cheese).
Tomato Basil Chicken
›› 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
›› 14 oz. can diced tomatoes (with italian herbs)
›› 1 cup pasta sauce (your favorite flavor)
›› 1 cup heavy cream
›› 2 tbs corn starch
›› 2 tbs minced garlic
›› 2 Tbs italian seasoning
›› salt & pepper (to taste)
›› Fresh basil for garnish
›› For serving: top on cooked pasta, rice, or veggies!
›› Pour everything but the chicken and fresh basil into the crockpot and stir it until combined.
›› Add chicken and push down into the sauce mixture. Cook on low 6 hours (or until a meat thermometer reads 165 in the chicken).
›› When the chicken is cooked, slice the chicken and pour the sauce on pasta (or rice, etc) and garnish with fresh basil.
Chicken & Dumplings
›› 1 pkg boneless skinless breasts (about 1 3/4 lbs)
›› 2 10.5 oz. cans cream of chicken soup
›› 2 cups chicken broth
›› 1 16.3 oz. can biscuits
›› 1 chopped yellow onion, diced
›› 2 stalks celery, chopped
›› 2 carrots, peeled/chopped
›› 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
›› 4 cloves garlic, minced
›› 1 tsp dried oregano
›› 1 tsp dried thyme (and some fresh as an optional garnish)
›› 1 bay leaf
›› salt & pepper to taste
›› Optional prep step: To prep for this recipe, I chop/stir the vegetables the night before so they are ready to pour. Keep the onion separate!
›› Spread onion in the bottom of the crockpot and top with chicken breasts. Season with oregano, thyme, salt & pepper.
›› Pour soup and broth over chicken. Top with bayleaf, cover, and cook until chicken is cooked through (until internal temp is 165 – typically high on 4, low on 6).
›› Discard bay leaf and shred chicken. Stir in celery, carrots, peas, and garlic.
›› Cut the dough of each biscuit into 4-6 bite-sized pieces. Spread into a single-layer on top of the chicken mixture. Cover and cook on high an additional 1.5 hours (or until biscuits look puffy and matte/slightly golden – they are supposed to stay a bit doughy but you should be able to tell they are safely cooked through). Make sure to keep the lid closed until the biscuits look done – its how the steam is captured and cooks the dough! Once done, serve and enjoy!